Chicago Career Tech: Stepping Stone for Job-Seeking Chicagoans

Crowded beaches, bustling street festivals, and packed patios across Chicago have been providing endless entertainment throughout the city’s favored summer season. However, despite Chicago’s sunny disposition, one unfortunate factor remains the same. As ABC News reported recently, the unemployment rate has risen to a staggering 9.1%. It is important to be reminded that this statistic is more than just a number — it represents a myriad of individuals from all different walks of life, struggling to make their way back into this extremely difficult job market. Take, for example, Dana Winston – A Chicago resident who found himself out of work after 8 years of executive customer service experience. In an effort to gain a new set of technology skills, Winston applied to the Chicago Career Tech program and is confident that it will provide the “stepping stone” he needs to get to the next point in his career. The Chicago Career Tech program is an innovative six-month job retraining opportunity that integrates classroom training with real-life experience in companies and nonprofit organizations, providing unemployed middle-income professionals with the skills needed for technology-based careers. Winston is learning about social media and marketing at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and completing his service-learning experience at Bottomless Closet – a local nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for women transitioning into the workforce. At Bottomless Closet, Winston works diligently to increase the organization’s online presence and improve its social media efforts. Winston’s hard work at Bottomless Closet has not gone unnoticed, either. ABC7 Chicago recently featured him in their coverage of Bottomless Closet’s fundraiser. CEO Jude Andrews expressed her excitement in Winston joining their team, sharing that he has increased the organization’s Twitter and Facebook followings significantly. Before becoming involved in Chicago Career Tech, Winston wasn’t sure when the tide would turn in his favor. He articulated this in his interview with ABC7 Chicago. “You hear that it’s getting better, and I’m looking, and I’m wondering where it’s getting better at because over that time frame, it wasn’t getting better for me,” said Winston. In June, Chicago Career Tech Participants like Winston began their service-learning at over 70 different local nonprofits, working to gain hands-on experience as well as to improve their communities. Each of these participants has a story similar to Winston’s story. The individuals behind the unemployment statistics are what United Way and Chicago Career Tech choose to focus on, and we’re asking that you do the same by taking a moment to click here to learn about Chicago Career Tech. Share news of this program with an unemployed friend, relative, or loved one in your life. Additionally, if you are with a non-profit agency that has technology projects and would like to partner with United Way to host CCT Participants at your site, please contact Denise Dell Isola at denise.dellisola@uw-mc.org.

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